exploring nashville: update

i last posted this on august 6, i’ll update it by bolding out the things i’ve been to in Nashville. i have 50 days left here before i’m gone for the summer and who knows where for the fall, so suggest away and let’s make plans nashville people!!

–Cannery Ballroom

–the Rose Pepper (east nashville)

–Ugly Mugs Coffee

–Bonjo Java DONE. awesome.

–Clothing Xchange

–Greenhouse (green hills)

–Gigi’s Cupcakes (CHECK!! AWESOME)



–recheck out The Farmer’s Market

–I Dream of Weenie

–Urban Outfitters

–Brueggers Bagels Bellevue CHECK

–Bellevue YMCA CHECK

–pickin party at Warner Park on Full Moons

–Tin Roof

–Otter’s Chicken Tenders

–Belcourt Midnight Movies

–Nashville Dog

add more to my list….


bring on the summer of paint and excitement

Last week I wrote about my decision to take or turn down Teach for America.

I turned it down. For a myriad of reasons, I can explain if you’re really interested…

Long hours of prayer, thought, journals, consultations with others, not sleeping led me to the decision, and I feel complete peace that it was the right decision.  Over the past few months, life has been a roller coaster that has changed directions an innumerable amount of times, but every second has been thrilling. Very few things about my life and future plans are the same as they were six months ago, but I have an overwhelming peace about this.

Back in November, I began to pray more desperately than every that god would help me become who He created me to be and less of who I wanted to be.  Countless hours of prayer, tears, journaling, seeking, reading, and listening have ensued since then and countless things have changed in a beautiful way.   I’ve had a heart for mission work since the first Knoxville mission trip I went on in high school.  Whenever anyone has asked me about a “dream job,” I’ve always mentioned something to the nature of “get paid to go on mission trips with youth and allow them to experience God in a radically different way than they ever imagined outside of their comfort zone and see Him work in ways they never imagined.” My dreams have also revolved around education systems, which I have always viewed as a more practical dream because it is tangible and has specific career paths attached to it.  I want to give all students the opportunities through the system, to discover and pursue their passions without the holds of many of the boxes of life. I see this as a guidance counselor potentially….

I’ve never been able to matriculate my mission trip dream job into an actual job……until now.

At the beginning of March, an opportunity was presented to me as a potential summer opportunity called YouthWorks. This opportunity, from the minimal research I conducted, seemed to be my mission trip dream matriculated into an employment opportunity.  I jumped at this opportunity and applied the morning before I left for Nicaragua.  While in Nicaragua, I checked my email to find an email inviting me to a phone interview for YouthWorks and offering me an opportunity with Teach for America.  Throughout the week and in the week since returning, I prayed and consulted many friends and mentors about the decision.  All the time, I knew that both of these opportunities would require me to leave Nashville, The Bridge, my friends, my family, and nearly everything I’ve known for the past 16 years of my life in Middle Tennessee.  As I was walking from class to my campus ministry last Thursday night, I was praying, a bit frustrated at God to be honest, because I hadn’t heard anything from YouthWorks and was stressed beyond normal because I was not at peace about Teach for America at all. I prayed and asked God why I hadn’t heard anything from YouthWorks, why I wasn’t at peace about TFA, why TFA that once seemed like it was my dream job now seemed as far as possible from something I could see myself doing.  I was frustrated because I had talked with the YouthWorks people Tuesday afternoon and they told me they would call me Thursday and it was nearly 8pm and I hadn’t heard anything.  2 seconds (literally) later, my phone rings and it was YouthWorks…..There’s no way to deny that this situation was a God thing.

It pains me to have to leave The Bridge because this semester has caused me to love the kids more than ever.  Learning the ins and outs of the program every Monday and Wednesday has been more of a blessing than I could have imagined, but I believe that YouthWorks is where I need to be this summer.  I’ve always deeply desired to have a summer away, I have a HUGE heart for missions, and as you all know, my passion for youth runs deep.  I do not know where I will be placed yet, that information comes in May, but I do know that the position is a Works Coordinator, where I will be in charge of construction (mostly painting) coordination at the site that I am placed at.  This position will allow me to develop my leadership skills because I will be the sole works coordinator and working with 5 other coordinators at a site, spend a summer away which will stretch me in ways I can only imagine, and be a great opportunity to work with youth in a new context.

Here’s the official job description:

Help youth build relationships with community members through work projects. Learn how to set up projects and partner with local community contacts. Teach participants the basics of painting and watch them be transformed as they serve in new ways. See the lasting effect on both community members whose homes have been improved, as well as the teens and adults who completed the repairs. Work Projects Coordinators must have the ability to clearly teach and prepare participants for projects.

For more details on YouthWorks so that I don’t go on for days about it…. check out their website. http://www.youthworks.com

I will miss you all this summer, the kids at the Bridge, the staff at the Green Hills Y, and everything about the Nashville, but I believe it is my time to spend a summer away.  My training begins May 23 and I do not return to Nashville until August 10, so I will not be in town all summer.

So…..Nashville people, let’s hang out before I leave!!!

why i love apple

oh customer service at its finest. i never want to own a PC.

My computer just freaked out, the battery told me it needed to be replaced, and the computer shut down. I called apple once I got it turned back on, immediately was able to talk to a live human being, told him what the problem was and my serial number, he pulled up some info, checked my warranty, walked me through a few simple steps, and Alphy is back up, running, and fully functioning, all in 15 minutes.

If this had been a Dell, this would have taken hours, calls to India, potentially shipping pieces around the world, etc etc. But with Apple, I call them (in California), they fix my problem, I’m on my way.

computer problem solved in 15 minutes by a real human being with no hold time and no automated crap=perfect customer service=why I own a Mac.


blades of grass and decisions of life

I keep flip flopping on the Teach for America subject. TFA is unarguably the most prestigious job opportunity I can be offered upon graduation with relation to education and would likely set me apart from such a large percentage of applicants should I decide to look more into Harvard Graduate School of Educaation, but I’m not 100% convinced it’s where I need to be.  Have you known anyone who has pursued TFA? I have an offer in front of me to be a high school math teacher in Eastern North Carolina for the next two years with a steady salary, benefits, and a support system most places could only dream of offering to their employees, and yet I’m considering turning it down in less than 24 hours.  I’m not sure what advice you can offer here, but I wanted to see if I might be able to gather your thoughts on this.  I’m not sure that I am the best person to explain math to students. Maybe teaching is all just ‘how to’s and what really matters is where your heart is and without a doubt, my heart is for giving these kids the opportunities they deserve.  In talking with the director of the region, she mentioned how doing TFA would obviously change my life forever, but it could also help me narrow down that I want to be a guidance counselor.  This is true, but that doesn’t convince me I should do it.  Is it truly fair to students for me to want to give them the best opportunity and strongly believe they should have that opportunity and say that I’m the person to teach them when i think i’m more of a mentor than a tutor. Aka guidance counselor vs. teacher.  I’m not convinced. I believe with every part of me in the mission of Teach for America, and like I said, it’s the most prestigious opportunity I could be offered, and it would give me money for grad school, practically write my ticket to grad school potentially, and put me around a ton of other people with hearts for the underprivileged in education.  I would be a part of a movement bigger than myself, in education.  Teach for America is on the ground experience in the worst schools in america working to give them equal opportunities and would change my life in ways I couldn’t imagine, but is it where I need to be right now.  46,000 people applied. 4,500 were accepted.  Clearly there are people who believe I can do this.  I can, I have no doubt, but will I? I’m just not convinced. In prayer, I keep being gently and forcefully reminded that God leads his sheep to a field of good options but does not tell us which blade of grass to eat.

Just my thoughts.